A Real In-Depth Look at Jeep Snorkels!


If driving through water with your off-road Jeep very often, you might be wondering whether a snorkel would be helpful to have for fording water that’s a little deeper than average.

Did you know that snorkels aren’t just for crossing water?

Read over this article about snorkels, how they are used, what to expect from one and then decide if one is a wise investment for your Jeep!

What Is A Jeep Snorkel?

A Jeep snorkel is a pipe that attaches to the air intake in the engine and travels upward on the outside of the vehicle.

Its purpose is to supply the engine with plenty of clean, dry, cool air to protect and help it work more efficiently.

Although some people don’t really need to install a snorkel based on the type of off-roading activities they enjoy and may just install it because they like how it looks, others can really benefit by installing one.

This is especially true if you enjoy fording deeper water or spend a lot of off-road time driving in dry, dusty, or muddy conditions.

How Do Jeep Snorkels Work?

Snorkels work by covering over the stock air intake on your Jeep and extending it upward, away from the engine and further away from the ground.

Positioned this way, it's much less likely that water, dust, or mud will end up sucked into the air intake where it can cause problems in the engine.

How Can A Jeep Snorkel Help?

There are two main benefits to gain by putting your Jeep’s air intake over its roof as opposed to leaving it under the hood as usual: preventing hydrolock and providing the engine with clean, cool air.

The first benefit and most common reason why people install snorkels on their Jeeps is to be able to drive through deeper water without the risk of getting water in the air intake and hydrolocking the engine.

Hydrolock is a serious problem that can ruin an engine and a concern that anyone fording water must avoid by knowing their vehicle’s safe water fording depth and not breaching that.

The other less realized benefit from a Jeep snorkel is to help keep the air filter from getting clogged with dirt and debris and instead allow the engine to suck in cooler air from above the vehicle rather than from within the heated engine compartment.

Cool, clean air that flows freely through the air intake and filter right into the engine creates greater combustion which produces better horsepower and improves gas mileage.

What Won’t A Jeep Snorkel Do?

As useful as installing a snorkel on Jeeps for deep water fording may be, it won’t turn it into a hybrid submarine.

Snorkels can slightly increase your safe fording depth perhaps by a few inches, but it does nothing to protect the electrical box and other critical engine components under the hood that must be kept dry.

It is still necessary to carefully calculate how deep you can drive even with a snorkel and learn how to carefully estimate water depth before charging through any water, snorkel, or not.

One consideration is that a snorkel could make your Jeep more susceptible to heavy rainfall as the opening on the stack is upward-facing and water could enter the air intake that way.

Yes or No - Install A Snorkel On Your Jeep?

While most people who drive through water only occasionally probably don’t have the need to invest in a snorkel system for their Jeep, all off-road aficionados might consider doing it if you spend a lot of time crossing water on the trails.

The more time spent in the rivers and streams, the more protection is needed.

Just don’t assume it's possible to drive deeper than you actually should simply because a snorkel was added.

Additionally, if dirt or mud driving is causing frequent replacement of the air filter or a top priority is to get tip-top horsepower performance from your Jeep, a snorkel could be beneficial.

Cleaner, cooler air shooting straight down the air intake improves engine performance and that’s a fact.

If you fit either of these categories, a Jeep snorkel might be a worthwhile investment for engine protection to be well worth the investment!

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